Direct AU Registrations Ridiculously Expensive

May 4, 2017

Welcome back Rankers! I wanted to talk to you today about a couple of things. But, before I get on to that, we have a couple of upcoming events to mention. This time next week, I will be in Adelaide at Big Digital events. There will be lots of really smart people speaking there. Marty Weintraub is a bit of a genius, and I hope to catch up with him to see what he’s been up to. There will be some great speakers there and I’m looking forward to catching up with the SEO folk. Then, at the end of May, we have got Retail Global, the biggest retail conference in the country. Probably the most important retail conference in the country. If you are a retailer, you really should get to it. More about that later.

Top Level Domain

Right now, I want to talk to you a little bit about Top Level Domain. Because we have been going through the process recently of moving domain names, as many of you know. We are moving from .biz to .com.au. It’s a long story. Basically, it’s a painful experience, as anybody who has ever done this before knows. So for instance, if I go and have a look at a couple I’ve prepared earlier.
To give you an idea of why it’s so painful. We started this process on the 6th April and if I do a search for our brand today, you can see stewartmedia.com.au is there. But, we’ve also got, still languishing down in the bowels of that search result, a .biz. There’s probably a couple of them. So it takes time.

We’ve been doing this for over three weeks now and we’ve taken a hit in the rankings, we’ve taken a hit in traffic as we would expect. The more competitive that you are, in the space that you’re in, the harder it will be to come back quickly when doing a change such as this. If you’ve made the decision to do it for branding purposes, or whatever else, then you have to do it. We knew it was going to happen and we’re taking a hit at the moment. That’s fine.

The ones that we’ve done earlier, like Retail Global, who used to be called PeSa, who used to be called Internet Conference, they went through a rebranding and are now ranking for Internet Conference. They used to be internetconference.com.au and are now retailglobal.com.au. Same site, same content, new domain name, and all of their important phrases are still ranking. So we can search ‘retail conference’ and see that they are still there for that as well.

Problogger featured answer regained after domain change
Problogger featured answer regained after domain change

We also took ProBlogger from problogger.net to problogger.com. That was late last year I believe. Or possibly early this year. They are back now as well. With ProBlogger it was arguably a little quicker thanks to the massive authority the site has. Retail Global took a little while and a couple of nervous people, but it’s great now and the traffic is up. So it’s all gone well. But again, I have to stress that it takes time.

Problogger initial traffic drop when switching domains
Problogger initial traffic drop when switching domains

Traffic Losing Domain

Which brings me to my next point. If you are even contemplating going for one of the new Australian direct au registrations, which is for example stewartmedia.au, don’t! Unless you want to lose traffic and sales for a while. Now imagine if you were one of these big sites, and none of these are retailers by the way, but imagine if you were transacting so many sales per day and you move to .au from .com.au. You redirected everything, and did everything perfectly, but if you are in a competitive space, which most retailers are, you’re going to see a drop. And you’re going to see that drop for an indeterminate time, probably directly proportionate to the size of your site.
There has been a lot of noise about Top Level Domains, and as soon as anybody brings out a product that they’re trying to flog, you start to pick up on stories out there that make you a little dubious. If I take a look at this article here which is from 2012, and was featured in Marketing magazine, which is a well-known Australian magazine for marketing. Now fortunately, at the top it states ‘Opinion’ but I think it should say something different to that. You can be the judge of what that word should be.

When I go down and search the article it says, “Will a new TLD web address automatically be favoured by Google over a .com equivalent? Quite simply, yes it will. I’ve been researching this topic since development of the new TLD program first began (around 6 years ago) and have closely followed the opinions, blah, blah, blah.”
What Google said about that particular statement and Matt Cutts in 2012 picked it out specifically by quoting that exact phrase before saying, “Sorry, but that’s just not true…I feel the need to debunk this misconception.” Now when you go and read that article and scroll down, you see the guy is actually part of a Registry Services company. So he’s maybe got a vested interest I would say. But it is opinion and they have marked it as so.

So, no, a .au will not help you rank any further, but it will cost you a lot of money though, especially if you rely on your website to do transactions or to generate leads or sales. You are going to be out of action for a period of time. And no, you can’t run both of them at the same time. And no, the traffic won’t automatically come across. It doesn’t work like that. It takes time.
If you are contemplating one of these .au’s just be prepared for, if you’re swapping from an existing domain name, an extended amount of downtime or traffic loss. Because that is what is going to happen. The reason I’m mentioning .au at the moment is because there’s been a lot of noise. As you know I ran for auDA, the Australian Domain Name Administrator board last year, thank god I didn’t get on it. Hi to Tim who did. Congratulations. I wouldn’t have been able to put up with the nonsense that’s going on there right now. You watch any of the news stories, any of the commentary on this process and it’s not great. There are conflicts of interest. You know what it feels like to me? It feels like the board of auDA has been hijacked by people who have a vested interest in selling domain names. Which isn’t great for the rest of us who have to buy the domain names.
Hopefully that’s helpful. See you all next week. Thanks very much. Bye.